At a dark sky star party, something appeared in the northern sky around 7pm on Oct. 1 that looked like a bright star very near the position of Polaris. It was far too bright to be Polaris or any other star so early; it was in the wrong part of the sky to be a planet, and unlike a satellite, it was stationary. It faded from view after about 10 – 20 minutes. I took the above photograph at 7:08 pm Mountain Time, and someone who looked at the object through binoculars confirmed that the double-lobed structure seen in this photograph is real.
We developed two hypotheses about what this object might have been
- A weather balloon
- A geosynchronous satellite
If any of my astronomically-inclined friends could offer some help in identifying this object, I would appreciate it.